Men of Inked Christmas
This is a short and sweet Men of Inked novella that was included with the release of Wicked Impulse. It’s a little over 7,000 words and feature Mike, Mia and the entire Gallo family.
I hope you enjoy the short story and thank you for reading!
Stone’s clapping as Pop bounces him up and down on his knee. “Stone, my boy. This is a special year.” Stone laughs, drool running down his chin like a ribbon of melting snow, but Pop doesn’t care. He loves Stone too much to care his pants are covered. “You don’t realize it, but this has been the best year of our lives,” Pop tells him, beaming with excitement. Stone claps again, his little head bobbing with each dip as Pop raises him higher and into the air.
They’re adorable together. Stone loves his grandpa the most. Sometimes I think even more than he likes Michael or me. As soon as we walk in the door, he reaches for Pop to take him and won’t leave his arms until we leave. It usually involves tears, as if we’re taking away his favorite blanket.
“Not only were you born, but the Cubbies won the World Series too,” Pop tells Stone with a smile that stretches from ear to ear.
I place my hand over my stomach, missing the feel of him moving inside me. It’s hard to believe he’s already nine months old. Time flew after Lily was born, but with Stone I thought it would move slower. Instead, it moved so fast it’s almost like I’m watching it all take place before my eyes at double speed. It feels like yesterday that I found out I was pregnant. It was a shock to me, but even a bigger shock to Mike. After she nagged him mercilessly, he finally gave in and got a vasectomy. He was one of the unlucky one percent who went through the procedure unsuccessfully.
When he found out we were having another baby, he was excited. He claimed this proved that his manhood and virility couldn’t be stopped. Naturally, he’d think it was a good thing.
“Baby, you want anything?” Mike asks, taking a seat on the armrest of the chair and wrapping his arm around my shoulder.
I glance up at him, and he’s staring at Stone with the biggest smile. There’s something about a man and his son. When the doctor announced that we had a boy, I thought Mike was going to beat on his chest and hold him high in the air, beaming with pride. The man prayed every day for a boy.
Don’t get me wrong.
He loves his baby girl. God, Lily has him wrapped around her little finger. She always has. From the moment she was born, Mike was a goner. The little princess can do no wrong in his eyes, and she knows it. He doesn’t realize it, but soon she’ll be a teenager, and he’s going to be in for a rude awakening.
“I’m good, love. Just watching your dad and Stone.” I smile up at him, watching him as he gazes at them with the biggest grin. There’s pride in his eyes every time he looks at his son.
“They love each other, huh?” Mike’s thumb strokes the exposed skin on my shoulder that is peeking out from my new sweater. I still don’t get why it’s missing part of the sleeves, but the sales lady told me it’s all the rage. I feel like I paid the same amount for a portion of the clothing.
“Yep, it’s weird, almost.”
I place my hand on his knee and rest my head against his rock-hard chest. “Where’s Lily?” I ask him, closing my eyes for a moment, listening to the steady beat of his heart
Two kids and years later and I’m still utterly and completely in love with this man. He still has the ability to make my insides quiver with anticipation when he’s near.
People said we wouldn’t last. A fighter and a doctor. Hell, it was probably a bet I would’ve taken before I really knew the man.
On the outside, he’s a massive wall of muscular testosterone, but on the inside, he’s nothing but a soft, loving human being. Except when he’s in the ring. Then he’s a beast. He transforms into someone I don’t know. Someone who would pound another man’s face in without even blinking. I’d never admit it, but watching him fight turns me on.
“Somewhere in the backyard with Gigi and Nick.” He leans down, placing his mouth next to my ear. “We can sneak upstairs and do it in my old room.” His teeth find my lobe, tugging gently. “Everyone is busy, the kids are being looked after.”
I melt into him as the noise around us fades.
His lips skid across the skin of my neck before his teeth dig into my favorite spot. “Come on, Doc. I need your special medicine.”
My skin breaks out in goose bumps, and I’m more than eager to steal a few moments away with my husband. Time alone has been minimal since Stone arrived. And sneaking away for a quickie sounds perfect.
“You’re on, big boy,” I whisper.
Mike stands and grabs my hand, pulling me up from the couch and heading toward the foyer. Pop’s so engrossed in Stone that he doesn’t even see us leave. Everyone else is sitting outside, watching the kids play and chitchatting while dinner is in the oven. Ma’s in the kitchen, cooking and still trying to teach Suzy how not to burn food.
I giggle softly as Mike drags me up the first few steps. When I don’t move fast enough for him, he hoists me over his shoulder and jogs up the grand staircase, taking two steps at a time. I bite down on my lip to stop the squeal bubbling from my throat that would be loud enough to draw attention to us.
When we’re inside his room, Mike kicks the door closed and we both freeze, holding our breath because we figure our cover’s blown.
“Shit, that was close,” he whispers, choosing now to be quiet. Mike loosens his grip, making my body slide down his front. It’s like cascading down an old-fashioned washboard.
I can feel every ripple and dip of his abdominal muscles until my feet touch the floor. Even then, my body is plastered against his, humming with excitement at his nearness. “Training has done a body good,” I tell him with the biggest smile, while my hands dig into his rock-hard sides.
When I met him, I thought he was built like a brick house, but I was wrong. Over time and with more training he seems to be getting bigger and harder. There isn’t an ounce of fat on the man. A year ago when he told me he wanted to get back in the ring, I was worried. After such a long absence, I wasn’t sure his body could handle the grueling training and snap back.
But, damn. Mike proved me wrong.
“Whatcha thinking, Doc?” He quirks an eyebrow with a smirk. “You look like you want to eat me.”
A slow, easy smile spreads across my face as I stare up into his caramel eyes. “Just thinking about how lucky I am to have you.”
“Baby,” he whispers before leaning forward and placing his lips against mine. He snakes his arms around my back, one hand tangling in my hair and holding me still as he kisses me deeply.
More than anything, I want to savor him, take my time making love to him, but we can’t. Backing away, I say, “Michael, we don’t have much…”
“Shh,” he murmurs, tightening his grip on my back before he trails a line down my neck to my chest with his soft lips. He pulls my hair gently, and my body follows, giving him better access to the opening in my V-neck sweater.
I grip his biceps, digging my fingernails into the skin just underneath his T-shirt sleeve. I’m hot, but not from the overly humid December Florida air. Instead, it’s from the way my husband is touching me. I shouldn’t feel as needy as I do. He woke me up in the middle of the night last night, spreading my legs wide and slipping inside of me before I could fully wake. The hazy memory of it makes my skin tingle.
Reaching under my skirt, he pulls my panties down and tosses them over his shoulder before I quickly undo his pants, pushing them to his ankles. He turns us, pressing my back against the wall next to the door. His kiss deepens, growing more demanding as he presses his hot erection against me.
Lifting me by the ass, he boosts me into the air, lining our bodies up perfectly before crashing his mouth against mine. I’m breathless and needy, wanting to feel him buried inside of me and needing another orgasm like it’s part of my life source. Mike runs the tip of his cock through my wetness before pushing inside, and my legs wrap around his back, taking him deeper and wanting all of him.
He starts with long, languid strokes, causing my slow-burning desire to ignite into a wildfire of lust. The heels of my bare feet dig into his ass and try to pull him forward quicker. The leisurely pace teases me, taunting me with an orgasm that’s just out of reach.
“Faster,” I moan, digging my shoulder blades into the wall and bearing down on him.
Mike smirks and grips my ass cheek rougher in his palm as he increases his strokes. He’s pounding into me; the photo on the wall next to my head bounces with each thrust. My toes begin to curl, and my muscles strain with the building orgasm.
Mike’s grunts become deeper and his hips move faster, slamming into me so roughly that my back begins to ache from the assault against the wall. The mix of pleasure and pain, along with his massive cock inside me, sends me over the edge.
Mike covers my mouth with his when I get a little too loud and quickly follows with his own climax. Even after we both catch our breath again, we don’t move. It’s too quiet, too comfortable to pull apart and go back downstairs. We both have the same thought. We want to stay in this bubble of bliss for as a long as possible.
“Mike!” Joe’s voice echoes through the hallways outside the door.
We both make a face at each other, knowing our moment is gone.
“I love you,” I whisper to my husband, who is still buried deep inside of me.
“Love you too, Doc.” He smiles and slowly lowers my feet to the floor. He starts to pull up his pants when there’s a knock at the door.
“Yo, asshole. Get your cock out of her and come downstairs.”
Our eyes meet, and we both break out into laughter. We weren’t as sneaky or probably as quiet as we thought we were. Joe doesn’t care. He and his wife, Suzy, have snuck away more times than I can count to do it all over the house. In reality, every person in this house has, at one time or another. Gotta get it when you can.
“Coming,” Mike tells him as he fastens the top button on his jeans.
“Do I look okay?” I ask as I shimmy my panties up my legs and try to right myself.
“That shade of pink is amazing on you.”
I give him a “What the hell are you talking about?” look and move my hands over my outfit, showing him there’s not a thread of pink on me. “Pink?”
He steps forward and rests his hand against my face, stroking my cheek with his thumb. “You have that well-fucked glow about you.” He smiles.
The pink he’s referring to turns into the brightest shade of red. “Damn it,” I grumble.
He kisses me with tenderness, his hand still on my face, and the embarrassment that flooded me moments ago vanishes. We’re not kids anymore. We weren’t sneaking off to have premarital sex. The one thing I’ve learned about the Gallos, even his parents, is that everyone has a healthy sex life.
“We better go,” I tell him when I feel the dull ache between my legs starting to return.
He nods and adjusts himself in his pants. “Going to be a long day. I may pull you into another room later.”
I press my hand between his solid pecs and smile up at him. “I may just let you.”
When we walk down the staircase, trying to act like nothing happened, Joe’s waiting in the foyer with the girls. His arms are crossed in front of him with Lily and Gigi on either side of him, and from the look on his face, I’d say the girls are in trouble…again. They’re staring at the floor as tears trickle down their splotchy red cheeks.
I drop to my knees as soon as I’m in front of Lily. “What happened?” I move my eyes between Joe, Lily, and Gigi. My heart’s racing because I can’t imagine what has them in tears.
They’ve grown up so fast. Too fast for my liking. The biggest problem is they’re thick as thieves and usually getting into some sort of trouble, but rarely are they in tears.
“Our lovely children thought it would be funny to convince Nick to strip down naked and run through the neighbor’s yard.”
I’m shocked. “What?” I gape.
Mike places a hand on my shoulder as if to steady himself. “Why in God’s name would they do that?”
Joe blows out a breath and clenches his fist. “Well, I guess Nick has a crush on the neighbor girl. Our innocent little girls told him that the way to get her attention would be to run through her yard naked, singing ‘Jingle Bells.’”
I have to bite the inside of my cheek not to laugh. Jingle Bells? These two little mischief-makers will be the death of Joe and Mike. They have no idea what’s coming because we haven’t even hit the teen years. It’s going to be hell.
Mike digs his fingers into my shoulder. “What the heck were you two thinking?” His tone is biting.
“Dad,” Lily says with a sniffle.
“Don’t Dad me, li’l girl. Why did you tell Nick to do that?”
Joe glances down at Gigi, quirking an eyebrow, waiting for her to respond. “You have anything to say, Gigi?”
“Well…” she says, kicking at the tile floor with her eyes downcast.
“Lily, why?” Mike pipes in when Gigi pauses.
“Listen,” Gigi says and looks me right in the eyes. “When my mom and dad want to show each other how much they like each other, they always get naked. We wanted to help Nick get Poppy’s attention.” She glances up at her father with a sad smile. “We didn’t know we did anything wrong, Daddy.”
“You too, Mommy,” Lily says to me. “You and Daddy wrestle sometimes, and you said it was just how you show each other you love one another.” And I’m horrified and a little embarrassed.
Joe’s face is pale, and he looks more uncomfortable than I do. “We’ll talk about this later. You and Lily go wash up for dinner. We’ll see if Santa comes tonight. You two just earned a spot on the naughty list,” Joe tells them.
“I told you it was wrong,” Lily tells Gigi with a snarl. “I’m not going to get my tablet for Christmas because of your stupid idea.” Lily rolls her eyes and starts to walk away, dragging her feet with each step.
Gigi peels away from Joe, walking next to Lily, and swings her arm over her cousin’s shoulder. “Don’t worry,” Gigi whispers. “Santa’s already in the air, and our gifts are in his sleigh. You’ll get your presents.”
The girls seem to forget that we can hear them. Even though they try to whisper, they’re doing a shitty job of it. They’ve never been able to be quiet a day in their lives.
“You think?” Lily asks, glancing at Gigi.
Gigi nods. “Next year, we have to be extra good now, though.”
“Darn,” Lily says.
“I know. It’s going to suck.”
Joe, Mike, and I look at each other and bite back our laughter until the girls disappear to the back of the house, and then we lose it.
Joe sobers first and rubs the back of his neck. “We’re in so much fucking trouble with them.”
“Ya think?” I laugh.
Mike shakes his head, rubbing his forehead with his fingertips. “So much fucking trouble.”
“Where’s Nick?” I ask.
“Getting his ass chewed out by Thomas.” Joe smiles. “I’d hate to be him.”
Mike pulls me into his side and kisses the top of my head. “Poor kid.”
“What are we going to do, Joe?”
“I think we’re going to have to talk to them about nudity and sexuality.”
“Fuck,” Mike groans. “They’re ten, for shit’s sake.”
“Dude, they just made Nick run around with his cock waving in the air. I think it’s time for that talk,” Joe laments.
“Jesus,” Mike says. “This is Mia’s department.”
I slap his stomach to give him a reality check. “This is an us department, jerk. I’m not talking to Lily about sex by myself.”
Suzy strolls into the hallway, glancing into the living room behind her. “Why do Gigi and Lily look like they’ve been crying?”
Joe wraps his arm around her waist when she’s close enough and hauls her into his side. “You don’t wanna know, sugar.”
“Can’t we have one day of peace?” she asks, hugging him tightly.
“I don’t think I’ll ever have another day of peace with three girls to raise.”
We all laugh because we know his words are a sad, sobering truth.
“Wait til they date,” Suzy says, looking up at her husband.
The moment Lily starts dating, I know everything is going to spiral out of control in a hot minute, and I dread the day. Mike isn’t going to let a boy near his baby girl without a fight.
“I’m locked and loaded when that day comes.”
“Me too,” Joe tells Mike with a nod.
“You two are crazy,” Suzy says with a small giggle. “Boys aren’t that bad.”
“Walk with me,” Joe tells Suzy, placing his hand on the small of her back and ushering her out of the hallway. “Let me tell you what Nick just did.”
Mike and I are trailing behind them, waiting for when she finds out exactly what our innocent angels encouraged their little cousin to do.
Joe whispers in her ear, and I know the moment he says the words because she stiffens. She stops walking and turns to face him. “What the frick? Seriously?”
“Oh, my God. We’re horrible parents,” she says, covering her face with her hands.
“No, we aren’t,” I tell Suzy, knowing exactly how she feels. “We’re human. But it’s time for the birds and the bees.”
“This is bullshit,” Mike says, being the pain in the ass he is. “Pop never gave us that talk. I don’t even know what to say to a girl.”
My eyebrows draw downward as my head jerks back. “He didn’t give you that talk?”
Mike and Joe both shake their heads.
“Well, what the…”
“Pop just said to use a rubber and gave us each a box of forty-eight when we turned sixteen.”
My mouth falls open. “You can’t say that with girls,” I tell them. “So, you better figure something out because I’m not doing it alone.”
“They’re ten,” Mike reminds me, as if I forgot that little fact, and crosses his arms in front of his chest.
“Naked,” I remind him. “They think that’s how you show someone you like them.”